Did you know Pennsylvania has an elk herd?
Yes, and if you ever get to a chance to visits the PA Wilds area you must visit the area, especially the town and area surrounding Benzettte.
Before the 1860’s Pennsylvania was home to a vast number of Eastern Elk.
Sadly, unrestricted hunting led to the demise and ultimate extinction of the species.
But today there is another species of thriving elk in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
The PA Ek herd you’ll find there today are Rocky Mountain elk. Descendants of those first brought to PA in 1913.
In an amazing journey from Wyoming to Pennsylvania 50 elk came via rail car and stepped into their new homeland to the delight of state residents and Game Commission officials alike.
Today over 1, 000 elk roam free in the wilds of PA and seeing them is absolutely amazing!
Here’s my dozen tips on visiting Benezette:
Tips for Visiting Benezette Pa
- Elk viewing is best right after sunrise and just before sunset.
- Go off the beaten path. The elk viewing areas offer a majestic view of the area but you can also see elk in downtown Benezette (yes, right in residential yards) and back dirt roads.
- Respect private property. The elk don’t but you should.
- Fall is the best time fo viewing elk if you want to see bulls (males) with antlers. Last September and October.
- Visit the Elk County Visitors Center, great history, nice gifts, and walking trails. Plus, there are often many elk to see at prime viewing time
- Stop by the Benezette Hotel. They have amazing beef brisket and friendly staff.
- Don’t expect much cellphone service. You’re in the mountains there is very little service (as of late 2019) with any carrier.
- If you’re hiking or even just walking trails, dress safely. There are rattlesnakes in the area.
- Make use of the free resources/classes/lessons – the Game Commission and Vistors Center offer many free programs during peak elk view season (Autumn).
- Book your stay early. If you’re going in peak season be sure to book your room/cabin/bed and breakfast early as they fill up fast
- There’s a Walmart in St. Mary’s.
- Benezette Store offers gasoline but not diesel fuel. You’ll have to travel to Weedville or St. Marys for diesel fuel.